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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    January 16, 2013
    8:00 - 9:00am PST  

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good morning. i'm thomas roberts. topping our agenda today, president obama goes big and bold on gun control. this hour at the white house, the president will announce what's expected to be the most ambitious federal gun control program in decades. today's announcement brings together members of the law enforcement community and children, kids, who wrote to the president about gun control in the days after the sandy hook shooting in connecticut. nbc news has learned the proposals include universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and an aggressive prosecution of existing laws. in more than a dozen orders, the president could enact without the approval of congress. >> the fact is they've made the political decision to go big for what it's worth. >> today's a beginning. today is the beginning of what has to be an every day campaign. it has to be -- i said you have to take this way out into the country. he needs to go into red states
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and talk about this. he's got to get on the phone when he's on air force one. >> as the white house ramps up for a massive campaign style p.r. offensive, so is the national rifle association. politico reporting today the nra is unleashing an army of lobbyists on washington and have you seen this? the nra hitting the president squarely with a new ad spotlighting his own daughters. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools? when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school. >> putting out an ad talking about the president's daughters? >> they are out of step, out of the mainstream, totally out of sync with what's going on in our society and quite frankly, after seeing that, i think some of the people that run that thing are sick. >> joining me now, congressman james clyburn, who serves as assistant democratic leader. sir, good to have you here. first i just want to get your reaction. you have seen that nra ad. what's your reaction?
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>> first of all, thomas, thank you so much for having me. that is way over the top. i was just taken aback when i heard that this morning. i have no idea who is making the decisions regarding this group. they really ought to take some assessments of themselves because i really believe that this goes extremely, just over the top as far as i'm concerned. >> the nra has a statement out based on the reaction that a lot of people have had, congressman, and they say whoever thinks the ad is about president obama's daughters are missing the point completely, or they're trying to change the subject. the ad is about keeping your children safe. sir, when you hear that and you've seen, you've heard the ad, does this just reveal how dirty this fight is going to get to bring any type of gun control
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reform through congress as opposed to through an executive order? >> unfortunately, i think that's an accurate assessment. i do believe that this is going to get really as we often say, down and dirty, and it should not be. this should be about common sense. this should be about our children. this should be about mental health. this should be about whether or not it makes sense for individuals to be walking the streets with weapons that are made for war. and this is about whether or not we will have people assessed, have background checks, and have a penalty for those people who falsify the information that they give. this should not be any kind of a question about constitutional rights. we all know what that is. within the constitution, we have to all do things that make it safe for all of us to enjoy life. the first amendment is about
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free speech, but as so often talked about, it does not give one the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater, or anything else that's akin to that. and that's what this ought to be about, a discussion about how do we implement the rights that people have under the second amendment while keeping people safe and keeping our children secure in their classrooms. >> sir, while we're talking about what we expect to come later today from the president, again, this all based on the vice president, the gun task force suggestions, politico was out with an article entitled "why president obama's gun plan may be doomed." in the article it says there are strong indications that any comprehensive legislation restricting weapons and ammunition won't even see a vote on the house floor. we have heard from people directly after what happened in connecticut, the sandy hook elementary school shooting, from representative goodlatt who oversees the judiciary committee
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chair of that which is oversight of gun restrictions in this country saying there is no appetite for this. since it doesn't seem like much has changed, do you agree with that assessment that this will never make it to the house floor for a vote, any type of gun legislation the president talks about today? >> well, you know, we've been down this road before. i was here when we banned assault weapons during the clinton administration, and the same kind of prognostications were made at that time, yet we did a ten-year ban. now, i wish at that time the ban had never been allowed to expire, but it was. i do believe that just because it looks as if it's something that would never happen, doesn't mean that we cannot create a climate within the congress and it does not mean that the public cannot have an outcry sufficient enough for us to do something.
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so i never approach legislation or anything else in life as if i'm defeated before i've attempted it. >> sir, i want to just show everybody, because you bring up the public appetite for this. the "washington post"/abc news poll ban on assault weapons, the support for that is at 58%, those opposing it at 39%. also asked whether or not there should be a ban on high capacity ammunition clips, the support for that is at 65%. those who oppose it at 32%. you think that this is the president's job to sell now, to basically come out with a p.r. style campaign to get out there in front of this issue and convince america that they need to be in touch with representatives like yourself, who are on the fence or opposed to any type of legislation, to change their minds? >> yes, i do believe that that's what is going to have to occur. it's not going to happen just because the president makes the pronouncement. i think the president is going to have to get out on this issue
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and demonstrate it as he has time and time again that he can communicate to the american people, with the american people, in such a way that they will be on board with him trying to get to the 218 we need to get to in the house for this to pass. i do believe that the senate is more poised to do this than the house, but if the public gets involved, if the president gets out in front on this issue, i do believe it can get to where we need to be. >> sir, real quickly before i let you go, i want to ask you about hometown politics concerning south carolina and the announcement that mark sanford is going to be throwing his hat into the ring, running for congress there. the first congressional district, still speculation of whether jenny sanford will be running for that same post, his ex-wife. he resigned from his governorship after personal entanglements with a mistress and divorcing his wife. now i'm hearing she's not
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running. so she's not out officially yet but she isn't running for that seat but he is officially in. sir, what's your reaction to knowing that he's trying to get his foot back into politics? >> well, i'm not surprised at this at all. i do believe that there is still a support base there in many quarters for mark sanford. i doubt, though, that he will be as successful as he was in the past. there are a lot of republicans who will be in that race. now, the question is how many get in and how much of the vote gets diluted in order to determine whether or not his base will get him into the top two people which i think is what's going to be required to get a nominee. i think that the democrats will have a very strong candidate. i understand that there are two women who are strongly
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considering this race. it will make for some interesting dynamics if we get a good strong democratic woman to run if mark sanford were to get the nomination on the other side. it will be worth watching. >> it will definitely be worth watching. congressman james clyburn, thank you for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you so much for having me. want to bring in today's political power panel. executive editor and reporter for the national journal, chris kofinas and republican strategist, alice stewart. let's talk about what we understand is going to be coming later today. i just want to put up what our first read has put out today, talking about president obama's announcement, saying bottom line, obama is going to go as big as he can go, realizing there's little political downside, at least in the short term. chris, your reaction to that? is there really no downside to going straight for this as strongly as he can, fresh out of the gate and off the heels of the gun task force of the vice
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president's suggestions? >> well, obviously it's going to depend on what the president proposes but i think you've seen from the polls and i think you've seen the reaction from the country that something needs to be done. this is not something that's going to be solved with one simple measure. i think the president and his team have decided that a more comprehensive, bold approach is the smart thing to do. part that's disappointing to me is in this entire debate that kind of erupted obviously after the newtown shootings, is you've not heard anything from the republicans in terms of what they would be willing to even consider. would they consider magazines, would they consider any type of assault ban, weapons ban? you are not seeing any kind of dialogue. i think politically, that's going to put them in a very, very bad spot. now, in terms of getting stuff done and passed, it's going to be a challenge. i think the congressman was right, this is going to be a lot of pressure on the president to really campaign and push hard for this in order to make this happen in congress. >> we have already heard people
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come out really strongly on the right, chris, as you point out how hard this is going to be to get through congress. but representative steve stockton of texas appeared on fox news talking about impeachment if the president tries to push this forward. take a listen. >> we want all tools available to use, including that impeachment. using children reminds me of saddam hussein when he used kids. >> alice, i want to get your reaction to this. we have had presidents in the past use executive orders to push through gun control legislation, whether it was bush 41 or bill clinton. no one then talked about impeachment for those presidencies. why does the right have to go to such language based on the fact that we're looking at a massacre at an elementary school? how come the right doesn't want to talk logically about what can be done? >> well, i think that language is a little harsh but the truth is there's a reason why the president's going to be flanked with small children at his press
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conference today, as he begins his p.r. campaign, and why he's talking about using executive action on this issue when it comes to gun control, because he knows it's not going to pass in the house. people in this country are strong supporters of our second amendment rights. there's a reason why the nra membership has gone up a quarter of a million since the sandy hook tragedy. over 4.25 million people are members of the nra and strongly support the right for second amendment protections in this country. but we have to look back where this began. we're trying to prevent mass shootings and guns are just one small part of it. we need to look at the person behind the guns, and that takes into effect mental illness, it takes into effect the effects of the entertainment industry and violent video games and what they do to the mindset of someone who goes out and puts a weapon in their hands. >> alice, you bring up the kids that will be there today. these are all children that have been selected to join the president because they wrote specifically to him in the white house because of their own concerns or their thoughts after
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learning the news about sandy hook and wanting to feel safe in their own schools. josh, i want to talk to you, though, because if past is prologue and the president can look back at what the supreme court has said in regard to the second amendment, is the evidence already there that this legislation can go through? a lot of people have been saying it's against the second amendment but justice scalia in '08 in a ruling said m-16 rifles and the like have no second amendment protection and may be banned. so is the groundwork already set? >> it can pass, thomas, constitutionally. i don't think that's the big issue for the white house right now. the biggest challenge that the white house faces, we mentioned the house but there are also a lot of senate democrats, conservative senate democrats from gun-owning states, and many of them are up for re-election in 2014, so when you look at the political calculus, when the white house is really going with an ambitious gun control plan here, look out for folks like mary landrieu in arkansas or -- mary landrieu in louisiana,
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rather, mark prior in arkansas and some of the southern democrats who have been resistant to gun control and have also made their brand independent because they have generally supported gun rights in their home states. i think if the white house can get the southern democrats, at least most of them, on board, he has a good chance of getting momentum and at least put some pressure on the house. but he really needs to start this in the senate and the biggest game changer are the senate democrats, the southern democrats, that provide the swing vote on this big issue. >> we'll have more definitive knowledge of what the president's going to say coming up at the end of the hour. our power panel for today, josh, chris, alice, my thanks to all three of you. i appreciate it. the freshman class of the 113th congress hit the ground and did so running from gun control, that is. it's a wild bunch of issues taking up washington, d.c. right now and all the oxygen. coming up next, we have congressman nat cartwright, one of the congressional newbies with an awful lot of responsibility. plus look at this.
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a helicopter crashes on the streets in london. two people killed but at least two others rescued from that fiery wreck. we'll bring you the details ahead. our big question for you today, did the nra go a little too far by focusing on president obama's daughters in their new ad? [ male announcer ] where do you turn for legal matters? maybe you want to incorporate a business. or protect your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like the help of an attorney. at legalzoom a legal plan attorney is available in most states with every personalized document to answer questions. get started at legalzoom.com today. and now you're protected.
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welcome back, everybody. in less than 45 minutes, president obama will unveil his plan to curb gun violence. setting up yet another major battle with congress. it's an exciting time to be in congress, especially if you're fresh to the hill. joining me now is my next guest. he is taking a leading role as a freshman congressman. that is matt cartwright of pennsylvania, elected to be co-president of the 49th member freshman class of democrats. he was also chosen to serve on
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the new congressional gun violence task force. i want to start right there, on the heels of the gun violence task force and what we expect to hear from the president. going to be asking you and your colleagues to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips most likely, also mandating universal background checks for gun buyers. do you support all of the ideas that have been floating around d.c. that we expect to hear from the president? >> well, first, i want to say thanks for having me on, thomas. i want you to know my son jack is trying to figure out a way to permanently fix our television on msnbc. >> so is my mother, by the way. jack and my mother should talk. >> well, look, i think we need to take -- this has been used in another context. i think we need to take an all of the above approach. the truth is they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
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i don't know if it's insane, but it's dumb. and i think, you know, after sandy hook, we have to try something different and when i say an all of the above approach, i mean not just looking at gun safety laws but also addressing the culture of gun violence in this country as well as looking at what we can do to address proper funding for mental health initiatives. >> one thing, sir, that the president is likely to do is talk about a number of actions that he can do without congress, so without your support, and that has certainly drawn the fire from the right, where republican congressman steve stockman of texas is already throwing out the word impeachment at the president if he tries to enact gun control through executive order. are you surprised by the intensity of bipartisanship, the bickering that you're seeing as an eyewitness in your freshman year so far? >> well, you know, thomas,
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addressing the bickering and the hyper partisanship, that has been something that i mean to do and i've said that. in fact, my republican counterpart, the president of the freshman republicans, congressman luke messer from indiana and i, have announced to the class that we intend to schedule a get-together for all of the 84 freshmen congressmen so that we can start to address that bickering, the hyper partisanship. it was about 50 years ago this year that president john f. kennedy said let us not seek the republican answer, let us not seek the democratic answer, let's seek the right answer. i think that still rings true 50 years later. >> do you think that the president should circumvent you and congress on any type of gun control legislation and go with an executive order, or would you prefer to be able to go through it and come up with the right
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answer, as you point out? >> well, i was very honored to have been selected by congressman mike thompson from california to serve on the congressional gun violence task force, and we mean to hold hearings starting today on the very question and we'll be looking into it and hearing from witnesses on all of those fronts, on all of the above methods of addressing the gun violence problem in this country. my preference, of course, would be to go through what we can accomplish in congress before the president resorts to executive measures. >> democratic congressman matt cartwright of pennsylvania, thanks so much. we appreciate it. we will hope that jack figures out a way to lock in the television set right here from now on. >> he's pretty clever. he might do it. all right. so after 79 days, relief is on the way. congress approving $50 billion for hurricane sandy victims despite lots of push-back. congressman charlie rangel joins
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me to weigh in on that. and grounded. dreamliner flights come to a grinding halt in japan after another 787 is forced to make an emergency landing. the full update in the news now coming your way next. ♪ ♪ ♪ hi dad. many years from now, when the subaru is theirs... hey. you missed a spot. ...i'll look back on this day and laugh. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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here's a look at some of the stories topping the news now. amateur video capturing the aftermath of a helicopter crash this morning in central london. the pilot and one person on the ground are dead. 11 others are injured. in japan, two major airlines have grounded all of their boeing 787 dreamliners for safety checks after another one of them had to make an emergency landing. in kabul, two people are dead, 30 injured after six suicide bombers detonated bombs in an attack on an afghan intelligence agency. as we have been telling you throughout the hour, we are keeping a very close watch on the white house right now. coming up shortly, president obama expected to unveil his gun control plan.
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it is said to be big, it is said to be bold and it could also have some problems getting through this congress. my colleagues alex wagner and steve kornacki join me for that conversation. all this happening just hours after new york's governor andrew cuomo signed new gun control legislation into law. some of the toughest in the country. one state senator calls it a political opportunity. we've all had those moments. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. email marketing from constant contact reaches people in a place they're checking every day -- their inbox.
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the nra responded to the signing of the empire state's bill, saying these gun control schemes have failed in the past and they will have no impact on public safety and crime. the legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations. joining me now is state senator greg ball, a republican from new york. state senator ball, great to have you here. first off, you were not a fan and did not vote in favor of this gun control legislation. why? >> if you look at the package overall, there are good things certainly in that package i fought for, privacy protections for permit holders, kendra's law is in there to deal with violently mentally ill, we have mark's law to help protect our first responders, but when we talk about the crux of the assault weapons ban and the restrictions on magazines and how many rounds, you're talking about creating an entire category of new crimes. there are tens of thousands of people in the state of new york right now that have legal firearms that overnight are now going to be illegal and because of that, they have become criminals.
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that doesn't solve a damn thing, thomas. it may make front page papers, it may make a lot of good news that allow this governor to beat vice president biden to the punch but it's not going to deal with the violently mentally ill that continue to fall through the cracks. >> that's one thing you brought up on the senate floor on monday night before the vote. i want to play it for everybody, what you had to say about the political motivations behind this. >> we haven't saved any lives tonight. except for one. the political life of a governor who wants to be president. we are now turning those law-abiding citizens into criminals and tomorrow, hoping that on the front pages we will be seen as preventing tragedies. >> we want to point out to everybody that the new york state senate is a republican controlled senate so how was governor cuomo able to get the support he needed to get this through if you think it's just about political futures? >> first, you do only have 30 members. there is actually coalition
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government now and it's becoming increasingly clear that governor cuomo has a hell of a lot of control and you know, when you look at the bill, members didn't even read the bill. they didn't even know what was in the bill when they were voting on this stuff because there was such a push to make sure the governor could sign it in due order before the national push that you have already seen. and the other thing that i said, which wasn't shown, is the fact that i have a mom in my district who has a schizophrenic bipolar child. she wrote me a letter. she talks about the fact she doesn't feel safe for herself or her neighbors. after the passage of this bill, that hasn't been solved. if this governor is serious about cracking down on animals that would attack children, that would attack the innocent, we have to deal with the issue of the violently mentally ill that are falling through the cracks in the state of new york, because we have a kangaroo system that really needs to be embraced and addressed in a very serious way. >> certainly this will be seen as an example for other states around the country to see how they want to look at what's
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happening going forward. >> or not. >> or not? >> i don't think texas is going to be following new york any time soon. >> they are already throwing around impeachment for the president for executive orders. i doubt that they will be following this. state senator, thank you. >> love the tie. >> thank you. i want to continue the discussion on gun control with congressman charlie rangel, a democrat from new york. congressman, i want to get your reaction. what do you think about what governor cuomo was able to do here in new york and also, senator ball's thoughts about what his reasoning behind getting this gun control legislation through is for, a political future? >> well, as a former member of the new york state legislature, i never felt more proud of them, nor the governor. to attack him, to say he is doing this for personal political reasoning, i wonder what they say about mayor bloomberg, who certainly has -- what are they saying about
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president obama, who is not running for re-election? no, i am convinced that new york has done the right thing for compassionate reason and once again should provide the leadership for state legislators throughout the country. president obama may be restricted in terms of what he can do by executive order but we are anxious to see what can be implemented by the executive branch and to realize that america, this is more in terms of common sense. when we have something that is hurting our children so much and killing youngsters around the country, it is time for all of the groups to come together and not to argue with each other because this is not constitutional rights. this is common sense. we know that those people that incorporated the right to bear
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arms was not talking about the slaughter of children that's happened in newtown, connecticut. so i am so sorry to see that the state legislator there that spoke earlier has made this a personal political issue, but i'm so proud that new york state has moved forward. >> if you're proud of what new york has done, obviously there's not going to be any perfect policy or perfect law that everybody's going to agree on from both sides saying that this is key perfection but do you think that new york and what has been done in this state could be used as a role model for other states that would like to enact something of new york's model? >> well, i hope so. you know, new york, it's a little different and more progressive in a lot of areas than some other states and some of the southern areas have cultures that we have to overcome but we do have a model set of what republicans and democrats, conservatives and liberals, have come together and
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put the party labels behind them and come forward with something that says hey, we may disagree but one thing is clear, that we have to do something, and that's exactly what they have done. and for the person who said that we're criminalizing people that want to be associated with arms, i don't know whether he knows, but you have to have criminal intent, criminal intent, in order to be indicted or convicted of anything. so the whole idea that you go to sleep one night legal and wake up the next night a criminal makes no sense in common law, statutory law or in due process. >> congressman, i want to get your take on what happened, the victory last night for those affected by hurricane sandy. the bill passing with 49 republican votes. speaker john boehner really breaking his own rule and bringing it to a vote despite little republican support. do you think that that signals a new step, a new approach from john boehner as speaker? >> well, we do have some crises
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that we're going to have to face, the debt ceiling, we're going to have to deal with sequestration as well as the concurrent resolution, and i'm convinced that in order to get something moving forward in a positive way, that speaker boehner's going to have to release republicans from just being bound to the party and do what's best for the country. so i hope this is a breakthrough. as for having this as a victory, if it's a victory for anything, it's a victory for our country. people can go to sleep at night knowing that god forbid if they have a catastrophe in their country, they may not be able to depend on the local people to come forward or the states, but they can depend on their congress to be there as historically we have always been. this is the first time we have had any type of controversy in getting it done, but late, delayed, yes, but was it done, you bet your life. >> new york congressman charlie
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rangel. thanks for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. so the final outstanding issue involving president obama's inauguration next monday is now apparently resolved. the reverend luis leone confirms he will be delivering the benediction. he pastors the church that the president and his family attends most frequently. he replaces the atlanta pastor who bowed out last week after a controversy erupted over his anti-gay sermon that he delivered back in the 1990s. so as the final preparations move forward for monday's inauguration in full swing, i'm joined by kerry brown, white house reporter for politico, to talk about the final touches. is the inaugural committee bracing for any more pitfalls in the final days or does it look like smooth sailing ahead? >> i'm sure they're preparing for it because really, anything can happen. this is a huge event even though it's expected to be smaller than it was four years ago. they are still expecting almost
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a million people, 40,000 people are expected to attend one of the inaugural balls. this is an event or series of events over several days that isn't expected to be as dazzling, so to speak, as four years ago, but really, in many respects, this is going to be a huge deal, especially here in washington, and there's a number of things over several days, a candlelight dinner on sunday night at the kennedy center, a big event monday on the mall where, you know, they're expecting about 800,000 people at least. >> but is the inaugural committee kind of lowering the expectations since this is the second time, it's not the first time at the rodeo, so to speak, so maybe they are lowering the expectations of how flashy this is really going to be? >> that is certainly what they are saying, that this is more of a populist event, not as much celebrity as there was four years ago. though you're still going to see a lot of those touches. like i said, there's only two balls this year which is far
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less than four years ago, but one of the events at the washington convention center is expected to get 40,000 people which roughly when you look at all the balls from four years ago and today, a lot of the same people. there will be a lot of the amount of the same people. and you're also going to see a lot of the same celebrity, you know, lot of folks coming into town performing at that inaugural, some of the inaugural balls on monday. concert for military families on saturday night. but overall, yes, a far smaller inauguration but still expected to be historically probably one of the larger ones that they've seen. >> real quickly, we're hearing that the president is going to have new license plates this time around, really striking at the heart of taxation without representation for those folks living in d.c. >> yeah. this was a big deal four users a -- years ago when he decided not to do it. bill clinton used that license plate. symbolically it's an important move for people who live in washington. at the end of the day, it
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doesn't really change the status of washingtonians who feel they are taxed without being represented in d.c. but symbolically, something that washingtonians were looking for and he's delivering on that, made some people happy yesterday. >> carrie, great to see you. thank you. >> thanks, thomas. as we await the president's announcement on gun control proposals, we asked and you answered, did the nra go too far by focusing on president obama's daughters in a new ad. k.j.l. tweets yes, this new ad is disgusting. you can be a member, want to protect second amendment rights and say no to assault weapons. from patricia, does the nra understand the magnitude of the potus' daughters being a member of the first family and what that entails? from rusty, absolutely. family members should always be off limits. we encourage you to keep the comments coming in to us on twitter or facebook. also, how does the white house now respond to the nra ad? we'll have a live report from the white house next. [ male announcer ] there are only so many foods
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so we're keeping a close eye on the breaking news coming to us out of washington right here on msnbc. any minute now, president obama will announce sweeping new gun control measures from the white house. they're expected to be some of the most ambitious that the country has heard in decades. joining me now from the white house, nbc news correspondent kristen welker. any idea of what type of ambitious, we keep hearing these words being tossed around, big, bold, ambitious. what that's going to be and whether or not the president will also be using this opportunity to respond to that new ad the nra has out, featuring the first daughters? >> reporter: to your first point about that ad, i don't know if president obama is going to address it. we did just get a comment from the white house. i will read that to you. this is from the white house press secretary, jay carney, who says quote, most americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight, but to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and
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cowardly. that is a reaction to this ad that the nra just released today. take a look at the ad. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools? when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? >> reporter: so again, white house officials calling that ad repugnant and cowardly, sort of underscores how divisive this issue is. we should say that the nra has made the argument that the ad is not meant to be focused solely on president obama's children, but more on the broader point of protecting children across the country. in terms of what we expect president obama to propose today, these are going to be some of the most sweeping proposals since 1968. a couple of them will include universal background checks, calling for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, aggressive prosecution of the existing laws as well as limiting high capacity
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magazines. they are also going to include a number of executive orders which we expect will call for increasing access to things like mental health and improving security around schools. some of these, thomas, will likely get through congress with the legislative proposals. others will clearly be more difficult like the call to reinstate the assault weapons ban. that is an incredibly divisive one that even some democratic senators have said it is hard to see that they will get through both chambers. so again, president obama expected to speak shortly. we will be here following it for you, thomas. >> nbc's kristen welker at the white house, thanks so much. as kristen said, we do expect the president right there from the south court auditorium of the white house in just a few minutes unveiling his plans for gun control. i have steve kornacki and alex wagner joining me on set after this commercial break. watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics.
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welcome back, everybody. we keep a close eye on the white house, the president due out any minute now to talk about the
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sweeping gun control advice that he's gotten from vice president joe biden's task force, what it means for the country and legislatively moving forward is anybody's guess, but we'll know in a couple of minutes. joining me in studio, alex wagner, host of msnbc's "now" and steve kornacki. what are you anticipating the president's going to come out with? we keep hearing big, keep hearing bold. >> it's bold in the context it's been two decades since any movement in gun control, the brady bill, five-day waiting period in '93, then you have to go back to 1968 for anything before that. >> guys, let's go ahead. there's vice president joe biden. let's listen to him. >> innocents that were murdered 33 days ago. our heart goes out to you. and you show incredible courage, incredible courage being here, and the president and i are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of
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your children and your wives with the work we take up here today. it's been 33 days since the nation's heart was broken by the horrific, senseless violence that took place at sandy hook elementary school. 20, 20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that's supposed to be their second sanctuary. six, six members of the staff killed. trying to save those children. it's literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom, and i know for the families who are here, time is not measured in days, but it's measured in minutes, in seconds, since you received that news. another minute without your daughter, another minute without your son, another minute without your wife, another minute
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without your mom. i want to personally thank chris and lynn mcdonald, who lost a beautiful daughter grace, and the other parents who i had a chance to speak to for their suggestions and, again, just for their courage of all of you to be here today. i admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing. and i must say i've been deeply affected by your faith, as well, and the president and i are going to do everything to try to match the resolve you've demonstrated. no one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again. as the president knows, i've worked in this field a long time
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in the united states senate, having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues of guns and crime and having drafted the first gun violence legislation, the last gun violence legislation, i should say. and i have no illusions what we're up against or how hard the task is in front of us, but i also have never seen a nation's conscience so shaken by what happened in sandy hook. the world has changed, and it's demanding action. it's in this context the president asked me to put together, along with cabinet members, a set of recommendations to meet the obligation we had. and toward the end, the cabinet members and i sat down with 229 groups, not just individuals representing groups, 229 groups, from law enforcement agencies, public health officials, gun officials, gun advocacy groups,
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to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. and i've spoken with members of congress on both sides of the aisle, had extensive conversation with mayors and governors and county officials, and the recommendation we provided to the president on monday called for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for, and long-term research that should be undertaken. they are based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups with whom we spoke, including some of you who are victims of this god-awful occurrence. ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands, as well as ways to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place. we should do as much as we can as quickly as we can and not let the perfect be enemy of the good. some of what you'll hear from the president will happen immediately, some will take some time, but we have begun, and we are starting here today, we resolve to continue this fight. during the meetings that we
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held, we met with a young man who's here today, i think colin goddard is here. where are you, colin? colin was one of the survivors of the virginia tech massacre. he was in the classroom. he calls himself one of the lucky seven, and he'll tell you he was shot four times that day and has three bullets that are still inside him. when i asked colin about what we should be doing, he said, i'm not here because of what happened to me, i'm here because of what happened to me keeps happening to other people. and we have to do something about it. colin, we will. colin, i promise you, we will. this is our intention. we must do what we can now, and there's no person who is more committed to acting on this moral obligation we have than the president of the united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, president
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barack obama. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you, everybody. please, have a seat. good afternoon, everybody. let me begin by thanking our vice president, joe biden, for your dedication, joe, to this issue, for bringing so many different voices to the table, because while reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one. over the month since the tragedy in newtown, we've heard from so many, and, obviously, none have affected us more than the families of those gorgeous children and their teachers and guardians who were lost.
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and so we're grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here and recognizing that we honor their memories in part by doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again. but we also heard from some unexpected people. in particular, i started getting a lot of letters from kids. four of them are here today. grant fritz, julia stokes, hena zia, and taja goode. they are pretty representative of some of the messages i got. these are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people. hena, a third grader, you can go ahead and wave, hena, that's you. hena wrote, i feel terrible for the parents who lost their children. i love my